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Sustainability 2015, 7(4), 3592-3614; doi:10.3390/su7043592

Shea (Vitellaria paradoxa) Butter Production and Resource Use by Urban and Rural Processors in Northern Ghana

1
United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS), 5-53-70 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-8925, Japan
2
Integrated Research System for Sustainability Science (IR3S), The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1, Hongo, Bunkyo 113-8654, Japan
These authors contributed equally to this study.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Vincenzo Torretta
Received: 21 December 2014 / Revised: 20 March 2015 / Accepted: 23 March 2015 / Published: 26 March 2015
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Abstract

This article explores the use of field experimentation in presenting an account of input inventory, material quantities, and the process flow for shea butter production in Ghana. The shea fruit is a non-timber forest product (NTFP) that is indigenous to ecosystems in semi-arid regions of Africa. Current methods and equipment for processing shea kernel into butter impose a dilemma of excessive harvesting of fuel wood for heating and the use of large quantities of water. Thus, the nature of input requirement and production process presents implications for conflict over natural resource use and for sustainability as more processing takes place. Material flow analysis was applied to the data generated from the processing experiments. The outcome was discussed in focus group discussion sessions and individual interviews as a way of data triangulation to validate study parameters. Results from this experiment showed that the quantity of water used in urban processing sites was higher than that used in rural sites. On the other hand, fuel wood use and labor expended were found to be higher in rural sites per unit processing cycle. The nature of the processing equipment, accessibility to input resources, and target market for shea butter were key determinants of the varying resource quantities used in the production process. View Full-Text
Keywords: shea butter; resource use; material flow analysis; field experimentation; urban processors; rural processors; material quantities; fuel wood; water; labor; Ghana shea butter; resource use; material flow analysis; field experimentation; urban processors; rural processors; material quantities; fuel wood; water; labor; Ghana
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Jasaw, G.S.; Saito, O.; Takeuchi, K. Shea (Vitellaria paradoxa) Butter Production and Resource Use by Urban and Rural Processors in Northern Ghana. Sustainability 2015, 7, 3592-3614.

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